There is a new form of tuberculosis that is spreading around the world. This new form of tuberculosis is a bone-eating bacteria that is resistant to most drugs. This new form of tuberculosis is similar to an ancestral form of tuberculosis that was prevalent before the discovery of antibiotics. This new form of tuberculosis is spreading rapidly and is causing concern among health officials. There is no cure for this new form of tuberculosis and it is feared that it will become a global pandemic.
In August 2016, a mystery began to unfold in the town of Car Nicobar in the Indian Ocean. People started coming down with a strange disease that caused their bones to rot away. The first few cases were quickly diagnosed as tuberculosis, but the infection didn’t respond to any of the usual treatments.
The outbreak continued for months, and by the end of 2016 there were over 100 confirmed cases. Doctors from all over India came to try to figure out what was going on, but they were stumped. The only thing they could say for sure was that this was unlike any tuberculosis they’d ever seen before.
Finally, in 2017, a team of international researchers solved the mystery. They sequenced the genomes of the bacteria causing the outbreak and compared them to other known tuberculosis strains. What they found was that the Car Nicobar strain was almost identical to a strain that existed thousands of years ago.
This ancient strain of tuberculosis had probably been dormant for centuries, only to be reawakened by a chance mutation. It’s a fascinating example of how quickly evolution can happen, and a reminder that even diseases that we think we understand can still surprise us.